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Factory Made Beef

Beef cattle don't fit into the factory farming mold quite as neatly as pigs, veal calves or chickens. But this doesn't mean they have escaped the problems of mass production. Cattle raised for beef usually spend the first part of their lives under range conditions, often on public lands which are leased to ranchers for grazing at extraordinarily cheap rates, a practice which amounts to tax-payer subsidization. Overgrazing in some parts of the country has led to massive and irreversible soil erosion and places an enormous strain on scarce water resources. In addition, the cattle are perceived to compete with indigenous free-living animals who often are poisoned, trapped or shot to death because they are viewed as a threat to the ranchers' livelihood.

Cattle are routinely castrated and branded without the use of any anesthetic. Anyone can perform these procedures—no qualifications are required. They are also dehorned at various ages using a variety of knives, saws and caustic chemical agents all without the benefit of anesthesia. Branding, dehorning and castration are frequently done at the same time compounding the pain and terror.

Beef cattle spend their last few months in feedlots. The fact that some feedlots "house" over 30,000 animals gives an idea of the crowded conditions. The enclosures, unsurprisingly, are extremely dirty, and provide no shade or shelter. For the last few months of their lives, cattle receive a concentrated grain diet to 'finish' them. Included in this mix are hormones and antibiotics. As a result, harmful chemicals may end up in the meat eaten by people.

Pigs | Eggs | Veal | Milk | Birds | Beef

Farm Animals | Action Alerts | European Farm Laws | ARI Campaigns | Henry Spira